Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that impact all ages of the population worldwide.
One of the several things that make recovering from an eating disorder so tricky is the stigma, shame, and stereotypes connected to them. This can often prevent individuals from getting the treatment and support they need.
Below are five common stereotypes that increase the shame and stigma attached to eating disorders.
#1. Stereotype: You Can Tell if Someone Has an Eating Disorder by Their Appearance
Contrary to popular belief, people with eating disorders have all sorts of different body shapes and sizes. It is actually considered quite rather for those diagnosed with eating disorders to also be medically underweight.
#2. Stereotype: Only Women Struggle With Eating Disorders
Just as eating disorders do not discriminate by shape or size, they do not discriminate according to gender identity or sexual orientation. Men are just as likely to struggle with an eating disorder as women.
#3. Stereotype: They Can Just Eat More
Eating disorders are more complex than just a person’s need to “eat more.” If an individual with an eating disorder could consume food without immense fear, panic, and anxiety, they would. Body image is only one element of eating disorders; underlying trauma, shame, and other emotions are likely the roots of the condition. To address these underlying causes, professional treatment is necessary.
#4. Stereotype: Eating Disorders Are a Choice
This stereotype is similar to the common misconception that eating disorders are caused by a person’s desire to be noticed by others or because of vanity. However, eating disorders are caused by several biological, psychological, temperamental, societal, and cultural factors.
#5. Stereotype: Eating Disorders Can Be Cured Following Treatment
While recovery from an eating disorder is possible, it is important to remember that the healing process is not the same for everybody. Although professional treatment is an essential component of recovery, it is not the end of the journey. Individuals in recovery from an eating disorder frequently need ongoing care after leaving treatment.
Breaking down stereotypes is essential in overcoming the stigma of eating disorders and accessing care. At Avalon Malibu, we recognize the all-consuming nature of eating disorders and understand how intimidating recovery can be. If you or a loved one struggles with an eating disorder, we are here to support you each step of the way. When beginning treatment at Avalon Malibu, you will also be among professionals and peers who support a safe and secure environment that encourages recovery. To learn more, call us today at (844) 857-5992.